"Fire" by Debra Whitfield
THEATRE 54 @ Shetler Studios & Theatres
244 West 54th Street,12th Floor
Running October 12th through October 28th, 2017
The Triangle Waist Company fire on March 25th, 1911, lives in infamy as one of the worst disasters in the history of New York City. In just a few short minutes, over one hundred and forty lives were abruptly extinguished when the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Triangle Waist Company were consumed by fire on that fateful March day. Most of the casualties were female immigrants who had come to America to start new lives for themselves and for their families. Many of the girls sent portions of their meager incomes back home to their relatives who remained in the “old country.” The young women had believed the stories they had read about American streets being “paved with gold.” The reality was, the only gold they saw were the gold coins pocketed by the manufacturers.
FIRE dramatically interweaves fictionalized stories about these young transplants with actual testimony from the trial against the owners of the factory. It poetically explores the theme of avarice juxtaposed against the dream of living in a new land and all the promise that goes along with it.
FIRE resonates today because one of the baser human desires, greed, pervades the world culture as much now, if not more, than it did back in 1911. The play is ultimately about overcoming adversity and never giving up hope for a better life.